The Reform Party proposes granting companies such as Uber and Lyft licenses to operate in Iceland, RÚV reports. Reform Party MP Þorsteinn Víglundsson and Icelandic Taxi Drivers’ Union chairman Ásgeir Þorsteinsson were guests on talk show Kastljós last night, where they debated the issue.
Þorsteinn questioned why the government is limiting the supply of taxi service by limiting the number of licenses. “There was a minor increase in licenses at the same time as tourism has expanded considerably in recent years. At the same time we’ve seen under the table activities… but it is hard to grasp the scope of them because they’re not registered,” he stated.
Þorsteinn proposes allowing free competition in the market, subject to the conditions which are usually put into place for such services. “We know that a shortage in this market, as in all others, results in higher prices than otherwise.”
Taxi Drivers’ Union Chairman Ásgeir Þorsteinsson, stated there is no shortage of taxis in the country. “There are no complaints about it, not at all. I can say we are attending to everyone. There are no taxi queues today, not like there were,” Ásgeir said.
Kastljós host Einar Þorsteinsson asked Ásgeir whether taxi drivers see an opportunity in offering customers the option to order a taxi easily, for a predetermined price and waiting time, as services like Uber and Lyft do. “We have never taken a position against this,” Ásgeir answered. “The only thing we are thinking about is the consumer’s safety.”